Saturday, October 23, 2010

I saw it first!

One of our local motors who resides in South City is a CHP motor. We'll bump into each other on car stops, at traffic court and just motoring around.

My partner, Juan Jalisco and I were parked at the top of an interstate offramp in South City. We'll usually catch red light runners, seatbelt, cellphone violations and anything else that we happen to see that is a violation of the California Vehicle Code.

I remember one day as I was pulling up and parking behind my duck blind, I noticed the aforementioned CHP motor, El Guapo stopped on the offramp giving some unlucky motorist a ticket. So you'd think that with a CHP motor cop on the offramp giving someone a ticket you'd see no violations being committed at this particular spot right? Wrong.

Juan Jalisco sees a car blatantly run a red light and off he zooms to meet and greet the driver. I'm parked there for several minutes before I see someone chatting away on their cell phone. I fire up the V-twin and I'm off. I no sooner catch up to the vehicle when I see El Guapo riding his BMW (which happens to sound like a run away sewing machine) pull up along side me.

I'm wondering to myself what the heck is going on. He yells over to me over the roar of my Harley, "Cell phone!?" I holler back "Yeah!". Then he yells back, "I saw it first!" My first thought, "Are you kidding me right now!" They didn't teach us about the proper motor etiquette for this situation when I went through motor school.

Then I got this funny visual about when I was a little kid (not that I'm that much more mature now) and having a tiff with my younger brother about fighting over some toy. You know, both of our hands on the toy pulling back and forth screaming "Mine!", "No, mine!".

So I holler at El Guapo, "It's yours!". I fall back behind him as I see the rear emergency lights on his BMW light up and he makes the traffic stop. I pulled up behind his motor and walked up to his bike where he was standing. He tells me, "Hey if you want it you can have it." I told him that he saw it first. El Guapo asks me, "Are you sure?" I replied, "Yeah, you saw her on the interstate offramp so you write her for that location. I saw her commit the same violation on a South City street so I'll write her for the same violation at the location I saw her at."

The look on his face was priceless. He caught on that I was joking as I motored off for another flock of ducks that were due in.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bait and switch

Wyatt and I have been working together for pretty much the last 11 years together. Once as patrol officers working the graveyard shift and since then as motor partners.

Every once and a while when I'd make a car stop, Wyatt would show up. Now, Wyatt and I sport those "so 80's" mustaches. Yeah, I know. It's a generational thing. Well Wyatt is about 6 inches taller than me and out weighs me by about 30 to 40 pounds. And if that wasn't obvious enough, my mustache is black and his is red.

So when I'd decide to give the driver a warning and Wyatt was around, I'd hand the driver's license, registration and insurance card to him. Wyatt would walk up to the driver's door, hand the driver his license and other paperwork and give them a warning.

And likewise, if Wyatt made a car stop, we'd reverse the roles when I'd walk up to the driver door to give them a warning. Most of the time the drivers would do a double take and have somewhat of a perplexed look on their faces.

The look on the drivers faces was a priceless Kodak moment.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just Down, not out.

It's been a while. My apologies for not posting as of late. Seems that my almost fifty-ish body has overridden my 21 year old mind. I tell you it really sucks getting older. As one of my buddies was so kind to tell me, "Hey 2WT, you're not 45 anymore." Thanks for the reminder.

I've moved up from crutches, to cane, to limp, back to my swagger, and I'm ready to get back into the saddle. You'd think that with the many years I've been doing enforcement riding that any injuries would have been from some riding mishap and not tearing or ripping muscles.

Desk duty sucks, nothing could make it better, even if they'd mounted handlebars and allowed me to wear my helmet while seated there in front of a computer terminal....

So to the motorists in my jurisdiction, I'll be out very very soon with a renewed zeal and appreciation for being back on two wheels.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New blog of note

For those of us who enjoy reading the experiences / exploits of others, here is a blog to check out;

Monday, May 31, 2010


A couple of months ago I was at the shooting range. I had my police motor parked near a table where we load our magazines and clean our weapons. Down range you could see the targets of human silhouettes hanging. While there I heard someone say loudly, "Who's motorcycle is this?" There were three of our motors parked at the range and turning around I noticed a group of about 15 to 20 men dressed in black BDU's standing at the rear of my police motor.

I answered that it was my motor parked there. One out of the group asked me about the blue star flag which I have on the back of my motor. I told him I have a son who is currently serving in the armed forces. This person who appeared to be the spokesperson for this group said, "Tell him thank you from us for his service." I told him I would make sure that he knew.

About a week ago I was running errands with my youngest son who is in the second grade. The errands took a little longer than I had planned. My son being hungry chose to eat at a nearby restaurant. While we were seated I noticed that something had his attention. Looking to my left, I saw that my son was staring at two uniformed soldiers who had walked in.

My son asked me why they were here. I guess to him it seemed a little different to actually see a couple of soldiers in a restaurant to eat lunch.

After we had finished our lunch, we approached the soldiers table. I excused our intrusion as I extended my hand to thank them both for their service. I got a firm hand shake, a slight look of surprise and a polite "You're welcome." My son shook both of their hands and said, "Thanks for protecting me."

I think he understands to the best of his limited life's experience why and how they protect our way of life.

So today while we are celebrating this extra day off, having family and friends over for a barbeque, please take a small moment of time out of your day to remember those who are serving in distant countries and are without their families. Remember those families who's lives have been forever changed due to the loss of their loved one(s) who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of our way of life.

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastering of fear - not absence of fear." Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hansel and Gretel

I'm sure almost everyone is familiar with this fairy tale and how they used a trail of breadcrumbs to mark their way with the intention of using the same said trail to find their way back.

This story came to mind during a cold hit and run traffic collision one cool clear morning. My partner, Jolly was dispatched to this traffic collision just after I had been dispatched to a totally separate traffic collision. Turns out my two driver's had decided to exchange their information with each other and actually were kind enough to contact our dispatch center to cancel my response.

I decided to head over to Jolly's hit and run. The victim vehicle had been legally parked on the street in front of their home. The left front end and driver side had been smashed by another vehicle which drove onto the opposing lane of traffic.

I pointed out to Jolly through the scuff marks left from the suspect vehicle's tires that it had veered sharply to the right, gone up over the raised concrete curb, across the front lawn of a home and came to a stop within about 12 inches of going into the living room.

While Jolly spoke with the owner of the smashed car, I noticed a distinctive tire mark left from the suspect vehicle. I looked down the roadway and could distinctly see the direction the suspect driver had fled. I told Jolly that I was going to follow the tire marks and see if they led anywhere.

The tire mark was actually two marks, a wide one of about 3 to 4 inches with a skinnier one about 6 inches away and it was about an inch wide. After about a half mile the tire marks pretty much became to light to see. They were last pointed in the direction of one of our major north - south roadways.

I noticed how the tire mark was still visible across the white painted crosswalk lines and were as distinctive as the one on the roadway surface before becoming too light to see.

I was able to see and follow this distinctive tire mark across every white painted crosswalk line as it lead me south along a frontage road. After about 3 miles of following this tire mark it led me to a shopping center. The tire mark became very visible on the black asphalt parking lot. I followed it to where the tire mark appeared to have stopped and parked 90 degrees to the marked parking stalls.

This was the spot where whomever had ripped off the plastic front bumper to their car and left it. I continued to follow this tire mark which pretty much did a 180 and saw it was parked (properly) in a marked parking stall and behind a hedge high enough to shield it from view.

So a quick records check of the license plate showed the owner lived in the adjacent county and city to the south. Jolly met me at the location of the suspect car where we rode down to the owners home and contacted them, bleary eyed and still intoxicated.

Needless to say, she was the registered owner of the car. She was able to produce the car keys and admitted to drinking, driving and "believed" she may have bumped into a parked car. She failed miserably doing a set of field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested for DUI pursuant to Calif. Vehicle Code section 40300.5.

Not quoting the entire section, the driver met the requirements of this section and through the totality of the circumstances and certain articulate able facts she was lawfully arrested for DUI 6 to 7 hours after "bumping" into the parked car. Her BAC (blood alcohol level) was STILL well over the .08%.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

But I wasn't driving!

There I was, parked in the shade and minding my own business, people watching. I see Joe Citizen roll to a stop in the left turn lane talking on his cellular phone. Joe looked over at me and continued talking on his cell phone. I'm thinking to myself either Joe is a complete idiot or from out of state and unaware of California's cell phone law.

Joe's light cycles to a green arrow and he makes a legal u-turn and begins to drive off in the opposite direction. I decide to conduct a "stop and talk" with Joe.

2WT: Hi, good afternoon. May I get your driver's license, vehicle registration and insurance card.

Joe: What for?

Here's a clue people. Motor cops don't just arbitrarily pull people over for no reason contrary to what you may have heard or believe. If you're pulled over and asked to produce the aforementioned documents by a police officer in the performance of his or her duties, don't begin the contact with any such or similar question.

Don't believe whom ever said that there is no such thing as a stupid question.... because there are such things and "What for" is one of them.

I just looked at Joe through my sunglasses and he needed no further prompting as he begrudgingly handed me his driver's license which just happened to be from this golden bankrupt state of California.

I told him I had stopped him for not using a hands free device for his cell phone.

Joe: "But I wasn't driving, I was stopped." Then followed his attempt to hurt my feelings by saying I had nothing better to do, and why wasn't I out there catching "real" criminals.

I told Joe that I had seen him roll to a stop as he conversed away. Joe was adamant about not driving and therefore no violation had occurred. I again told Joe my observations which he disagreed with and said he'd see me in court.

My original intention was to "catch and release", which was to stop Joe, explain the cell phone law to him, and send him on his merry way being more aware of at least one of the state's myriad of vehicle code laws.

Typically if I am going to write a ticket to someone, I'll usually give them a warning on some other violation which commonly is no current registration paperwork or no insurance card.

Joe had basically talked himself into a ticket which I was more than happy to oblige. I can write tickets fast or really, r e a l l y s l o w. Needless to say, Joe had a very, v e r y legible ticket.

In Joe's haste, he forgot to hand me his vehicle registration and insurance card and him being an adult, I didn't ask him twice for them. I just added them onto Joe's ticket as additional violations.

Do I ticket every driver I stop, no. My attitude or niceness is in direct relation to that of the driver. Nice driver, nice motor cop and possible warning. Asshole driver, asshole motor cop with your personalized invitation to the local traffic court presented to you with a smile by yours truly.

Education or education through enforcement, Joe opted for the latter.

We do give breaks / warnings, but attitude is everything.